Newell-Fonda goes for state gold

DES MOINES – Newell-Fonda has been down this road before.

Now, the second-ranked Mustangs (24-2 overall) have another golden opportunity to hoist their first girls state basketball championship trophy.

With a Class 1A title on the line, Newell-Fonda will square off with No. 1 Central Lyon (25-2) tonight at 4 p.m. inside Wells Fargo Arena.

In their two previous state games, the co-Twin Lakes Conference champion Mustangs rolled past Villisca (75-28) and 13th-ranked Bellevue Marquette (69-52).

Junior point guard Renee Maneman tallied 21 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals in Newell-Fonda’s semifinal victory.

Senior Andrea Christensen (16) and junior Claudia Larsen (10) were next in line offensively for the Mustangs, who shot 51 percent (29-for-57) against the Mohawks. Newell-Fonda’s full-court defensive pressure has forced 53 turnovers this week in Des Moines.

Central Lyon, which boasts a 14-game winning streak, is making its first state tournament trip in program history. The Lions advanced with commanding victories over Earlham (67-43) and No. 5 Burlington Notre Dame (76-53).

Kori Schulte finished with a game-high 23 points in Central Lyon’s semifinal triumph, while Sarah Halse added 12.

Second-ranked (3A) MOC-Floyd Valley handed the Lions their lone setbacks this season by scores of 58-45 and 53-49.

Newell-Fonda head coach Dick Jungers owns a 227-49 mark in his 11 years at the helm. The Mustangs, who are making their ninth state appearance, settled for runner-up honors in 1997, 2000 and 2008. Jungers has also guided N-F to the state softball tournament six times since 2005, including a 1A crown in 2008 and second-place efforts in ’09 and ’10.